Music

The Hoosiers: The Secret Service

October 9th 2015 | Crab Race Ltd | Albums

The Hoosiers' plan to release new music as it was recorded on a series of EPs throughout 2015 was thwarted by virtue of asking the fans if they liked the idea. The near-unanimous, and unexpectedly surprising response was “We want an album!” – so the band went to the studio to create the full-length, fan-mandated album The Secret Service.

Engaging directly with fans in a continual online dialogue since the lead-up to their 3rd album The News From Nowhere has enriched and revitalised the band, not least because of the (amicable) departure of long-time bass player Martin Skarendahl but it has also served to vindicate their decision to set up their own business and label for self-releasing.

The multi-platinum success of their 2007 debut album, “The Trick to Life”, and singles such as “Worried About Ray” and “Goodbye Mr. A”, raised huge expectations for its follow-up, not least at The Hoosiers’ record label. The prophetically titled “The Illusion of Safety” was, all the band agree, a troubled project from the start. Irwin suggests, “The word ‘hit’ is substituted for ‘good’. There’s an art to writing under those conditions, but it wasn’t one that worked for us. It exacts a toll on too many writers. You give up too much if you do that.”

“The News From Nowhere”, released in 2014, was an astonishing return to form. “Doing it on our own terms,” says Irwin, “and actually having a proper say in it, felt wonderful. We had nothing to lose, but a lot to prove.”

Shattering their previous run of an album every three to four years, this autumn’s LP release – only a year after their third album – reveals a band hitting their stride through a purple patch; improving as they discover they have more to say than ever.

Gone is the self-consciousness of the dog days around their second album; gone, too, the self-doubt. In their place is a deeply rooted – and hard-won – confidence, and a determination to lock back in to the freedom and joy of the early days.

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